Aston Villa wish to ‘quickly’ wrap up a move for a former Arsenal star who’s shone since being dumped, and a report claims Unai Emery could sweeten the deal with a makeweight.
Aston Villa have surged up the table since Unai Emery took charge, with their form post-World Cup particularly encouraging.
Villa have won three, drawn one and lost one in the league since domestic football returned. That stretch also includes a 2-0 away victory at Tottenham.
Emery has worked wonders in a short space of time and also appears to have the full backing of the club.
Indeed, Danny Ings was repeatedly overlooked in favour of Ollie Watkins and Villa have since recouped an initial £12m upon selling him to West Ham.
Left-back Alex Moreno and frontman Jhon Duran have arrived, though according to reports out of France, Villa’s business is far from finished.
Former Arsenal midfielder, Matteo Guendouzi, continues to be linked with Villa. The 23-year-old is fast beginning to look like one of Mikel Arteta’s rare missteps of late.
Guendouzi was initially turfed out to Marseille on loan before the move was turned permanent last summer. Guendouzi cost the French side just £9m and his superb form back in his home country has resulted in seven caps for France since making his international debut in 2021.
Guendouzi’s time at the Emirates was clouded by disciplinary issues and Arteta has shown he’s unafraid to axe major stars who fall foul of his collective vision. But while shifting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has since proved the right call, the jury is out on Guendouzi.
Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka have formed a fine pairing. However, beyond those two, quality depth pieces are in desperately short supply.
Albert Sambi Lokonga has struggled to adapt since joining from Anderlecht and Mohamed Elneny is nowhere near the level of the starters.
Guendouzi to get second shot in England?
Now, French outlet La Provence (via Sport Witness), report Guendouzi could soon be handed a shot at revenge through a return to England with Villa.
Emery worked with the midfielder during his previous stint in charge of Arsenal. In fact, the Spaniard was at the helm when Guendouzi joined the Gunners in the summer of 2018.
Villa reportedly wish to ‘quickly start moving’ for Guendouzi and could include a current star as bait. Precisely who they’d include isn’t stated.
An obvious hurdle Villa must overcome is convincing Guendouzi to leave Marseille in the middle of a title challenge. The French heavyweight are only five points off table-toppers PSG at present.
What’s more, they’ll likely have Champions League football on offer next season, unlike Villa.
But if those barriers can be breached – be it through the Emery connection or simple finances – Guendouzi would represent a fine addition at Villa Park.
He’s only just now entering his prime years and already knows what the English game is all about.
He can play in a variety of roles in midfield be they holding or box-to-box. Regarding the latter, Guendouzi has added a startling number of attacking returns to his game since joining Marseille.
In 82 games for the Gunners, Guendouzi returned just one goal and five assists. In 81 games for Marseille, he’s provided nine goals and 18 assists.
Given how his stint at the Emirates concluded, it stands to reason motivation won’t be an issue either.
Reports elsewhere have touted a £25m figure as being required for Marseille to sell Guendouzi this month. The inclusion of a makeweight – if Marseille are receptive to that idea, of course – would reduce the total outlay.